Cold weather presents new safety challenges to employers whose workers operate outside. Employers have a responsibility to protect their employees from the dangers of severe weather. To protect employees, employers must meet safety standards and provide the training required to make a safe work environment. These are some dangers highlighted by OSHA that workers face in cold weather.
When the weather creates hazardous road conditions, companies must ensure that employees know how to safely navigate inclement weather. Additionally, employers should maintain vehicles so that cold-weather dangers are mitigated as much as possible. When roads are covered with snow or ice, workers must be trained to operate a vehicle in these conditions safely. Every employee also should also know the steps to take if weather conditions leave them stranded.
What to Do if Stranded in a Vehicle
If cold conditions strand someone in their vehicle, they should know the proper steps to take to prioritize safety. Importantly, one of the most important things a stranded individual may do is to remain in their car. A vehicle should only be left if help is visible within 100 yards. While a worker is waiting for help, their vehicle’s engine should be turned on for at least ten minutes of every hour to provide warmth. Attaching a brightly colored cloth or using light will help increase a vehicle’s visibility.
If a worker’s vehicle is unable to turn on and provide heat, signs of frostbite and hypothermia should be looked for. Remaining physically active is essential to keep blood circulating. However, if someone overexerts themselves in cold weather, they may be at risk of having a cardiac event, so it's crucial to keep movement minimal.
Cold Weather Equipment
Having the proper equipment makes a significant impact on safety. Even if employers do not provide work clothing, they are responsible for verifying that employees are wearing clothing that is adequate for cold weather. In addition to wearing warm clothing, having adequate shoes is important. Every worker should wear the appropriate footwear when walking on ice is unavoidable. Insulated and waterproof boots with adequate tread will make walking on ice a safer task. Having a pair of rubber overshoes is a fantastic way of making sure that workers are always equipped to fight the elements safely.
If you have been injured because of your employer's lack of cold weather safety standards, contact the work injury attorneys at Arnold & Itkin today at (888) 493-1629 for a free consultation.